Romania and the International Adoptions Issue

Posted on 26 January 2011 by Stefan Derabus

For many years, international adoptions have been blocked by a moratorium in Romania. At that time (back in 2002) this was the only way to stop the trade with children which was booming in the country. It was the best kind of “business”: little investment, and a lot of income generated for international adoption agencies, which were eager to get as many children as possible abroad.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was ignored. Article 21 (b) recognises that “inter-country adoption may be considered as an alternative means of child’s care, if the child cannot be placed in a foster or an adoptive family or cannot in any suitable manner be cared for in the child’s country of origin”. In spite of this article, siblings were split, kids were taken abroad, without any preparation, without even meeting the adoptive parents. It was a time when adoption was done in the best interest of the adoptive parents, not in children’s best interest. There was hardly any post-adoption monitoring and supervision and not seldom did Romanian adopted kids get into institutions in the countries they were taken to, also because the written reports given by agencies to the adoptive parents were incorrect and misleading. Suddenly, once international adoptions were banned, the Romanian government was able to produce a viable law, which allowed the proper development of family-based, alternative services for children in state care. Mother and Baby Units were developed, the foster care system was created and ways were found to look after the kids in their own country of origin.

Now, the issue is back on the agenda again. However, many years have gone and we do need, I think, to re-visit the adoption legislation, with a view to bring some supplementary nuances, which would follow the lead of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is not as harsh as the Romanian adoption legislation is at present. For example, those kids who still wait to go abroad to adoptive families they met and want, should be allowed to take this step. Also, there are children with special needs who could benefit from a family abroad, as long as the adoption process and the preparation process are done in the best interest of the child as an imperative.

The only fear that still remains, is that the re-opening of international adoptions would lead to a new beginning for the adoption of children as trade. Because this is pure and harsh abuse upon children, under an umbrella of legality.

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